The waiting period in insurance occurs after you’ve applied and are waiting for your coverage to kick in.
Updated March 1, 20222 min read
The life insurance application process is a necessary part of getting coverage. However, a typical life insurance application can take about five to six weeks to process. That time period creates a gap between when you need life insurance coverage and when you actually have that coverage.
But this waiting period doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to risk your family’s financial health due to a lack of coverage. Temporary life insurance coverage and policies with a quicker turnaround time for application decisions offset the risk of a coverage gap.
The waiting period is five to six weeks on average but can be longer.
Temporary insurance pays out to your beneficiaries if you die during the waiting period.
Accelerated underwriting and final expense life insurance policies offer almost immediate coverage.
The waiting period in life insurance is the time between when you initially apply for a policy and when your life insurance coverage beings. The waiting period happens because insurers need to evaluate your background and health profile to determine how much you will pay for your policy.
During this waiting period, you don’t have life insurance coverage and if you die, your beneficiaries won’t receive any life insurance money.
Once you’re approved for coverage, you’ll need to pay your first policy premium and sign your life insurance policy for the waiting period to end. At that point, your coverage will be active and if you die, your beneficiaries will receive the payout.
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You can get a life insurance policy without undergoing the waiting period — here’s how:
Purchase temporary coverage while you wait for your actual policy to become active.
Buy a no-medical-exam life insurance policy that skips the medical exam, which speeds up the application process.
Get a policy with no waiting period by purchasing accelerated underwriting life insurance, which offers an application decision almost immediately.
The waiting period also occurs between the time your beneficiaries submit a death claim form and the time they receive the actual payout. Processing the death claim can take as little as two weeks to as long as two months, after which the life insurance company will pay out the death benefit.
If your family will need immediate financial support, consider creating a contingency plan, like a savings account they can immediately access, while they wait for the funds.
The life insurance waiting period can have some serious consequences for your beneficiaries. But, you can ensure that they’re financially protected by getting temporary life insurance during the application process or opting for a no-medical-exam policy that makes a quicker application decision.
The waiting period in insurance is the time between applying for coverage and getting that coverage. You do not have insurance coverage during this waiting period.
Insurance companies generally don’t offer automatic coverage to applicants. The waiting period is in place so they can conduct a thorough evaluation of your background and determine the risk of insuring you.
Life insurance coverage begins in as little as 24 hours or as long as six weeks after you undergo the application process.
There are life insurance policies available that offer coverage without a medical exam or waiting period. These policies have different eligibility and coverage parameters than typical life insurance policies.